Sine waves should heard not seen, like here starting at 1 minute 20 seconds in

As far as I’m concerned, sine curves and geometry are crap. I once went to a school where there were two maths teachers and which one you ended up with depended on what year you were in. Unfortunately, the maths teacher I ended up with was obsessed with geometry, which I found was very, very difficult, there were lots of parts of it I didn’t understand and couldn’t do at all. He often made me miss half an hour of the ninety minute lunch break by keeping me behind after class to sit there and stare at the maths book unable to actually do any of the problems. I eventually changed schools and after this I was relieved to hardly ever hear anything about geometry again. My maths teacher was the one I wrote about as “Mr Wells” in the post https://commodore64crap.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/schoolboy-in-four-hour-detention-shock/ “Schoolboy In Four Hour Detention Shock”. This actually happened to me, when he told me to stay in the classroom after school until I had finished some maths problems I didn’t know how to do, while he went off somewhere else. I realised this meant I would be there all night, or at least until a night class started. I managed to get him to agree that I could leave after half an hour. I sat staring at the book for the whole half hour, but didn’t do a single problem, then I went home.

Recently, TMR of the blog C64 Crap Debunk has claimed in his post “Release Notes – Clonemas” https://c64crapdebunk.wordpress.com/2015/12/25/release-notes-clonemas/ that sine curves are easy to understand and that people can somehow use them by drawing them on a computer screen or graph paper, without doing any maths at all. After this, I did an Internet search to see if I could find out what a sine curve is (instead of just what it looks like) and how to use it. At the top of the results it gave the definition as “a curve representing periodic oscillations of constant amplitude as given by a sine function”. I realised that I had no real idea what this meant, especially due to the description containing the words “oscillations” and “constant” which seem to be almost opposite to each other. I visited some websites which claimed to explain sine curves, but I found I was even more confused! This means that I don’t understand what a sine curve is, let alone how to use one.


Yamaha publicity for the CX5M

While using my amazing Yamaha CX5M Music Computer, which was MSX with an FM synthesizer built in, I found out about different waveforms used to make different sounds. These waveforms were sine, sawtooth, pulse or square, and random or noise. These four waveforms are also used by the Commodore 64’s SID chip, but of course the Commodore manuals and third party books I got didn’t explain how to use them. I used the official Yamaha FM Voicing Program to create my own sounds on the CX5M. The accompanying manual explained enough for me to do this. What I learnt about waveforms from this manual was that the sine waveform was used for a flute or whistle type sound, the sawtooth waveform was used for an electric guitar type sound, the pulse or square waveform was used for a saxophone or clarinet type sound, and there was also random or noise type waveform used for sound effects. These waveforms can also be used to produce a wide variety of sounds using envelopes and operators as oscillators. I had already heard of ADSR (Attack Decay Sustain and Release) envelopes on computers, but on the CX5M it was more sophisticated with operators as oscillators using ADSDR, including a second decay setting. The CX5M/DX9/DX21/DX100 have 4 operators, while the DX7 has 6 operators, making for more complex sounds. The settings for ADSR or ADSDR can make sounds that seem more electronic, by delaying the attack rate. In classic Doctor Who, a sine wave was used for the electronic instrumental sound of the incidental music “Nyssa’s Theme”, which featured in the stories “The Keeper of Traken” when she joined the Doctor, and “Terminus” when she left. That’s all I understand about sine waves. I advise you to memorise the definition “a curve representing periodic oscillations of constant amplitude as given by a sine function”, then if asked for an example, say it can be used by synthesisers to make a flute sound. This should help prevent you being persecuted for not understanding WTF a sine wave is. It serves no useful purpose apart from producing a soft, flute type sound. Obviously, it’s not necessary or useful to employ a sine wave to make sprites dance around in that kind of pattern. You can live without doing that at all.


The Yamaha CX5M up close

Unfortunately, this whole thing about maths and how important it’s supposed to be is an agenda set by people who are in charge, or at least who think they are. Since leaving school, I’ve never found that I needed to use geometry at all except the very simple task of measuring a flat I’m viewing, then multiply two figures together to get the total area for each room. Hundreds of years ago, everyone was supposed to learn Latin and ancient Greek to prove they were intelligent, but this wasn’t much use at all. Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire, but after that empire fell, it was still used in nearly all books, because not many people could read at all, but the people who could read also understood Latin, so publishing books in Latin was the way to get as many people as possible to understand them. Later on, more people learnt to read, so then it became normal for books to be published in English, German, or the descendants of Latin, such as French, Spanish, and Italian.

At the end of the day, not everyone is good at the same things. The problem is when people like teachers say that everyone must be able to do something in particular, in this case geometry.

So, to sum up, I don’t know, and don’t CARE about sine waves or geometry at all!

Posted January 1, 2016 by C64hater in Uncategorized

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